The Book of Contemplation, Kitab al-Tafakkur
Muhammad Isa Waley (translation)
Paperback, 176 pages
Kitab al-Tafakkur, Book 39 of The Revival of the Religious Sciences
This book stands as a propaedeutic to the final chapter of the Ihya’, which is on death, the meditation upon which was a constant practice of our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, who said, ‘Do much pondering upon the destroyer of delights: death.’” – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
The Book of Contemplation is the 39th of the 40 Books of The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din) – and is the very last to appear in English translation. Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s purpose in this book is to explain the nature and importance of contemplation, or reflection, as an act that enriches the thinking person with increased knowledge of, and wonder at, the Creator and His creation.
In Part 1, the author defines and introduces the subject, explaining its importance with reference to the Qur’an, Hadith, and sayings of wise and pious Muslims.
In Part 2, he expounds his own highly original views as to the nature and fruits of contemplation.
Part 3 offers detailed guidance as to the most appropriate and beneficial subjects for reflection, some relating to human traits and actions and others to Divine Attributes and Actions.
In Part 4, Ghazali explores in detail aspects of God’s creation, which, when viewed with an observant eye and considered with a worshipful heart, are full of wonders and offer inexhaustible scope for reflection – from the artistry of the spider and bee to the unimaginable vastness of the heavens, which themselves are dwarfed by what lies beyond them.
2. The Merit of Contemplation
3. An Exposition of the True Nature and Fruits of Contemplation
4. Means and Subjects for Contemplation